Lackluster enrollment numbers, technology issues, and high maintenance costs are among the challenges plaguing ObamaCare state exchanges that were reviewed by the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee at a hearing Tuesday.
“CMS has seemed more focused on doling out taxpayer dollars rather than overseeing how those dollars are spent,” Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) said of the lack of oversight.
Executives from six state exchanges—Oregon, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California, Minnesota, and Connecticut—provided testimony. So far, Oregon and Hawaii’s exchanges have both proven to be unsustainable, closing down and migrating consumers to HealthCare.gov’s federal marketplace with others likely to follow.
Chairman Murphy emphasized in his opening statement the sufficient amount of taxpayer money that was poured into creating these now-failing exchanges: “The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has awarded $5.51 billion dollars to the States to help them establish their exchanges. Let me repeat that. The States received $5.51 billion in federal taxpayer dollars to set up their own exchanges. Yet, the ACA had no specific definition of what a state exchange was supposed to do, or more importantly, what it was not supposed to do.”
Grant money used to fund the exchanges was cut off in 2015 when states were expected to start bringing in enough money to continue operation on their own. Of the 17 states that chose to establish their own exchanges, nearly half face financial difficulties.
The committee hopes to find out why exchanges have struggled to become self-sustaining and whether or not any grant money will be recouped from states where exchanges have been shut down. For instance, Oregon spent $305 million of taxpayer dollars to establish its failed exchange, while Hawaii spent $205 million.
As Americans for Tax Reform points out, Tuesday’s hearing is a vital first step to addressing the urgent problems within the state exchanges—before they spread to all 17.
Hillary Clinton’s prescription to soothe the economic hangover consumers have from ObamaCare’s regulatory binge is a single ingredient: more regulation. Mrs. Clinton begins her treatment plan by focusing on “price gouging” by pharmaceutical companies and the need for price regulation.
The enrollee share of premiums in the health insurance program for federal employees and retirees will rise by 7.4 percent on average in 2016, the largest increase since 2011, the government announced Tuesday.
Five years after passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), progressives are now releasing plans to expand on the legislation. The most recent plan has a lot in common with the ACA, including substantially increasing the costs for both taxpayers and consumers once again.
Just when it looked like Obamacare couldn’t get worse, new statistical evidence shows that it can, and has. Health care insurance is getting more expensive for most workers because of an increase in deductions.
The latest KFF/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey figures have arrived with yet more bad news about Obamacare. Obamacare’s fiercest advocates have been quick to trumpet a purported slowdown in health spending and way too quick to assign Obamacare the credit for this. They’ve failed to acknowledge two inconvenient truths. The slowdown began many years before Obamacare was ever enacted into law. More importantly, and what I’ll highlight in this post, they’ve failed to point out the entire economy has slowed down thanks to Obamanomics, including worker wages, whose growth has been anemic. It is only when we compare slow health spending to even slower growth in wages that the real truth about Obamacare is revealed: Obamacare has not slowed down premium growth relative to wages at all!
On Tuesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual survey of employer-sponsored health plans. The number that will probably attract the most attention relates to the premiums attached to employer plans — an important figure, since rising premiums eat up money that could otherwise go toward pay increases. The survey shows that 2015 premiums for family coverage were 4.2 percent higher than in 2014, a rise slightly greater than those of the past couple years.
More than two years away from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac” tax, 16 percent of large employers offering health benefits have changed their benefit plans or moved to less expensive plans to avoid going over the limits set by the law, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released Tuesday.
The key findings from the survey, conducted from January through June 2015, include a modest increase (4%) in the average premiums for both single and family coverage in the past year. The average annual single coverage premium is $6,251 and the average family coverage premium is $17,545.
Members of Congress from both parties, as well as some employers, insurers and state insurance commissioners, are calling for changes in the Affordable Care Act to prevent premium increases that are expected to affect workers at many small and midsize companies next year.
Lawmakers see the potential for a rare bipartisan agreement on the issue, after five years in which Republicans have repeatedly tried to repeal the law and Democrats have blocked their efforts.